Posts Tagged ‘James Coburn’
Monday, April 2nd, 2018
HELL IS FOR HEROES is a tight little black and white Don Siegel war movie that I watched because of that Village Voice piece I just did about the McQueen/Marvin/Bronson/Brown film series it’s playing in later this week. To tell you the truth I don’t watch too many war movies, and I don’t really have a desire to get more into them, but I liked this one.
It’s about a platoon of American soldiers in Montigny, France, 1944. They’ve been hanging out in this “rest area near the Siegfried Line,” waiting to go home. You got your eccentric goofballs: Corby (Bobby Darin) is a talker and hustler who carries around a bunch of junk and prides himself on being able to get people whatever they need. He’ll tell you all about it. Henshaw (James Coburn, HARD TIMES, DEADFALL, ERASER) is some kind of mechanical genius. He seems to keep his mind occupied by puzzling over how machines work. In the opening he has a car dismantled and Sergeant Pike (Fess Parker, THEM!) asks what was wrong with it. “Oh, I don’t know,” Henshaw says, seeming to have not considered that question. Also there’s Homer (Nick Adams, REBEL WITHOUT A CAUSE, FRANKENSTEIN CONQUERS THE WORLD), a young Polish guy who clings on to the soldiers, runs errands for them and dearly wishes to join them in hopes that he can go back to the States with them.
Into this hangout movie is transferred Reese, played by Steve McFuckingQueen. Pike knows him and trusts him as a soldier, but he’s trouble. He walks in with his rucksack and an air of superiority, finds his corner and minds his own business until he sneaks off to get a late night drink even though it’s strictly forbidden. (read the rest of this shit…)
Tags: Bob Newhart, Bobby Darin, Don Siegel, Fess Parker, James Coburn, Nick Adams, Steve McQueen, WWII
Posted in Reviews, War | 6 Comments »
Thursday, September 22nd, 2016
Man, you’re looking for a movie with seven dudes who possess some level of magnificence, you could do worse than John Sturges’ THE MAGNIFICENT SEVEN (1960). I wouldn’t personally use the adjective “magnificent” to describe any cowboys, but if I did then Yul Brynner, Steve McQueen, Charles Bronson and James Coburn would be good candidates. And Robert Vaughn wouldn’t be out of the question. That there is a hell of a cast, and then they’re facing off against Eli Wallach in a more large-and-in-charge character than he usually plays as Calvera, the leader of a gang of bandits terrorizing a small Mexican village. He’s one of these bullies who gets across his true evil by doing a really unconvincing fake nice guy act to your face. He keeps saying how much he loves the village in the process of threatening it. Make Cuernavaca great again!
This is, of course, a remake of SEVEN SAMURAI, so some of these poor farmers go into town looking for gunmen. Brynner plays Chris Adams, the first one they find, who becomes leader and recruiter. That’s funny, ’cause he’s bald just like the impostor monk Kambei, but not for any narrative reason (and he wears a hat anyway). He’s introduced as a bystander who intervenes when the local funeral home director won’t take a rich traveler’s money to bury an Indian on Boot Hill. He says he wouldn’t have any problem with it (some of his best friends are Indians buried in white cemeteries), but he’s scared of the local whites who he knows won’t stand for it.
Chris proposes that he drive the hearse, and then another drifter onlooker, Vin Tanner (Steve McQueen), calls shotgun (oh yeah, that’s where that term comes from). The crowd follows along, watching in awe, as the two drive up the hill while fending off racist snipers. (read the rest of this shit…)
Tags: Charles Bronson, Eli Wallach, Elmer Bernstein, Horst Buchholz, James Coburn, John Sturges, remakes, Robert Vaughn, Steve McQueen, Yul Brynner
Posted in Reviews, Western | 9 Comments »
Wednesday, March 11th, 2015
Walter Hill’s HARD TIMES could almost be a western or a samurai movie, but it happens to be a bareknuckle brawler movie instead. In fact I think it’s the template for my beloved sub-genre of the underground fight circuit movie. Charles Bronson as a guy named Chaney wanders into town (New Orleans circa 1933) on the back of a train. He’s so broke he can’t afford a coffee refill, but he sees a bunch of guys going into a warehouse across the street and he decides to follow them in. Turns out they’re there to gamble on a bare knuckle fight.
Did Chaney know that’s what was going on? Did he come here looking for it? Is this his vocation? Or does he just happen to notice this is going on and need the work? That would be pretty lucky for him, since he happens to be really fuckin good at it. But this is Charles Bronson we’re talking about. I’m sure he’d be the best at whatever manly job was available.
We don’t know what his deal is, but he approaches Speed (James Coburn), the manager of the losing fighter, and convinces him to get him a fight. Speed has no faith in him, but he’s got nothing to lose because Chaney has a little wad of life savings to put up the bet himself. There’s a big buildup as everyone scoffs at him and then, as in so many of this genre later on (BLOOD AND BONE, NEVER BACK DOWN, DIGGSTOWN, ONG-BAK, LIONHEART, UNLEASHED [suggest others in the comments and I will add them to the list, I know there’s a million of ’em]), he K.O.s the guy in one blow. (read the rest of this shit…)
Tags: Bob Minor, Charles Bronson, James Coburn, Robert Tessier, Roger Spottiswoode, Strother Martin, Walter Hill
Posted in Action, Reviews | 19 Comments »
Thursday, August 16th, 2012
When we think of Arnold Schwarzenegger we think of the TERMINATOR movies, PREDATOR, the CONAN movies, COMMANDO… movies that came out in years before, say, 1995. I don’t know if the crazy action/sexism combo of TRUE LIES used up everything he had, or if it was playing a pregnant man in JUNIOR that pushed him over, but by the time he made ERASER in ’96 the salad days were over. There was only some slimy lettuce left.
But I kinda enjoyed watching this one again. I’d say I like it better than THE SIXTH DAY, COLLATERAL DAMAGE and END OF DAYS (although that last one has more distinctive weirdness in it). (read the rest of this shit…)
Tags: Arnold Schwarzenegger, Chuck Russell, James Caan, James Coburn, Robert Pastorelli
Posted in Action, Reviews | 53 Comments »
Wednesday, April 28th, 2010
To celebrate the release of my new review book that’s named after Bruce Willis it’s only appropriate that I review a Bruce movie I never reviewed before. And by far the most requested title in that category is the notorious-flop-turned-minor-cult-movie HUDSON HAWK.
I’ll start by laying out the three basic schools of thought about why HUDSON HAWK crashed and burned. (read the rest of this shit…)
Tags: Bruce, Bruce Willis, Daniel Waters, Danny Aiello, James Coburn, Michael Lehmann, Steven E. de Souza
Posted in Bruce, Comedy/Laffs, Reviews | 111 Comments »
Friday, January 15th, 2010
I honestly never knew about this Nic Cage-featuring neo-noir until some of you recommended it to me in the comments. So thanks for that. Since I’d never heard of it and the cover looks like the type of photoshop they do on an uncopyrighted double feature DVD you’d buy for 99 cents at Safeway I assumed this was an early Cage performance. I was shocked when I realized it was 1993, same year he did the much more polished RED ROCK WEST. It’s kind of hilarious that a crime movie this clunky came out after RESERVOIR DOGS. (read the rest of this shit…)
Tags: Angus Scrimm, James Coburn, mega-acting, Michael Biehn, Nick Vallelonga, Nicolas Cage
Posted in Crime, Reviews | 93 Comments »
Wednesday, January 1st, 2003
You talk about striving for excellence – to a guy like me, Sergio Leone is just about the highest level of excellence any director could aspire to. He took the western genre, which had grown stale and conservative, and injected it full of his Leone brand cinematic steroid and turned it into an unstoppable super soldier version of the old beast, one so powerful it became its own genre that is still worshipped and studied by cult movie watchers to this day. All he did was five westerns bookended by a gladiator picture and a gangster epic. But those westerns contributed so much to the Badass Cinema I worship to this day that they might as well be considered its legal guardians.
Think about it: the stoic Clint Eastwood persona of A FISTFUL OF DOLLARS, which he parlayed into an entire brilliant career and which spun off into a hundred bastard sons in the action genre, from Steven Seagal to Daniel Craig. The epic cinemascope wide shots showing the vastness of the desert, cutting to the extreme closeups on some ugly bastard’s squinty eyes, surrounded by wrinkles and lines of sweat. The ingenious use of sound – buzzing flies, some piece of metal somewhere clanging in the wind, the clicking of guns, and of course the legendary Ennio Morricone scores that are forever glued to any memory anybody ever had of these movies. Leone’s style is like a drug, it heightens all your senses. You feel like a blind man whose hearing becomes more powerful to balance out the loss of the eye sight, but then you get the eye sight back for some reason and the super-hearing stays so you go watch some westerns. (read the rest of this shit…)
Tags: James Coburn, Sergio Leone, spaghetti westerns
Posted in Reviews, War, Western | 3 Comments »
Thursday, December 20th, 2001
Well in late December as I was preparing to face down the ol’ Y2K problem I got to thinking about the old Mad Max and Road Warrior movies I used to like so much, and that got me thinking about Mel Gibson, the young Australian actor who played Mad Max.
Well okay, I admit that Mel hasn’t amounted to as much as we as a society thought he would back in those days, but that doesn’t mean you can Write the man off entirely. I know what you are thinking, this dude hasn’t done shit since Mad Max so just forget about him. But sometimes even after he’s considered washed up by the general public an actor or actress is still putting out high quality type performances with little recognition. (read the rest of this shit…)
Tags: Bill Duke, Brian Helgeland, Gregg Henry, James Coburn, Kris Kristofferson, Lucy Liu, Maria Bello, Mel Gibson, Parker, Paul Abascal, Richard Stark
Posted in Action, Crime, Reviews, Thriller | 4 Comments »